In my energy balancing work, I've found that many people are interested in using herbal remedies instead of synthetic supplements. Unfortunately, herbal products are not regulated in the United States, being readily available with little direction for the untrained consumer. I know from experience and that of my clients that herbal remedies are extremely powerful and beneficial when the right ones specific to your needs are used properly.
Herbalism has always been a joy for me. My bookshelves are full of texts packed with info on the power of herbs. Whether used medicinally, for aromatherapy, or as a tasty addition to my culinary creations – herbs somehow find their way into my life every day. And now they are in my life in a more formal way through my studies with The Herbal Academy’s Clinical Herbalist program.
Using biofeedback in my 1:1 sessions, I'm able to test which herbs (and essential oils - derived from the plants) a person can use that will help promote the desired health benefits. Here on the blog, I hope to shed some light on the potential health benefits of herbs and how to incorporate them safely into your daily life.
I’ll be posting about many of the herbs that are known to be the most powerful in building a strong immune system, eliminating stress (it always comes down to too much stress!), and helping you feel inspired to create, but my first post just had to be about my company’s namesake: Verbena.
I have special affinity toward this plant because it is said to have been used to stem the flow of Christ’s crucifixion wounds, earning it the nickname “herb of the cross”. Wow! This plant is legendary for its natural healing benefits! I like that because here at Verbena we are all about natural wellness. I also believe it's a somewhat misunderstood herb, but I'll get into that more later.
VERVAIN (aka Verbena) or Verbena Officinalis
Vervain (aka Verbena – the names are interchangeable) or Verbena officinalis is a perennial with tiny lavender flowers that sit atop delicate spikes. Considered a magical and sacred herb since ancient times, Verbena is believed to “bring marvelous and unhoped help”. Drinking verbena tea eases tension and stress. It is also known to protect from vampires.
HISTORY & FOLKLORE
This ancient plant has been considered magickal and sacred across different cultures. The ancient Romans kept it on their altars - thus the name, Verbena, which literally means "altar plant". In other cultures it was thought to grant wishes and carried for good luck. While said to protect from evil witches and vampires, it was also thought to be used by witches in theirl brews. Looking for romance? Verbena was said to be useful when courting.
CONSTITUENTS & COMMON USES
The active constituents in Verbena are glycosides verbenalin, aucubin, and volatile oil. The aerial parts of the plant are typically used to make teas and tinctures. However, too bitter to make for a tasty tea, so it is most commonly used in tinctures. Herbal bitters are excellent aid to digestion.
Verbena is commonly believed to treat nervousness and tension and provides an analgesic effect. These effects are mild, so that it is not typically used for sleep disorders. Made into a poultice or ointment, Verbena is believed to promote the healing of bruises, skin infections, insect bites, eczema and other skin disorders.
NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH LEMON VERBENA
While many people interchange Vervain with Lemon Verbena, they are not the same plant. Both are in the Verbenaceae family, but Vervain or Verbena (Verbena officinalis) is a completely different species from Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora).
THE CREATIVE INSPIRATION RATING
Keeping with the objective of my blog, to provide practical Mind-Body-Spirit & Natural Wellness solutions to inspire creativity, I'll be rating each of the therapies or tools on a scale of 1 to 5 based on key attributes for ease of use and factors my research tells me will help get your creative juices going.
So, where does Verbena shake out?
ACCESSIBILITY: 5.O - not readily available in most stores, but there are many online options
AFFORDABILITY: 5,0 - just over $10/lb for the bulk herb online
SIMPLICITY: 5.0 - making an alcohol tincture or sachet is all it takes to be able to enjoy it's benefits
INSPIRING: 5.0 - less stress and tension usually helps to spark new ideas
CALMING: 5.0 - Verbena definitely scores big on this one!
ENERGIZING: 2.0 - not exactly sleep inducing, but one might want a little more energy to tackle that next big project
Overall Score: 4.3/5.0
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING HERBS & PLANT BY-PRODUCTS
It’s important when buying herbs for any purpose other than decoration that they are of the highest quality. Let’s first look at “organic”. Organically grown herbs will not contain pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Pretty important for anything you will be using in or on your body (and that includes breathing in mist from a diffuser or smoke from incense). “Non-GMO” is another term to look for. It means that what you see is what you get in regard to plants. They are the naturally occurring form of the plant and not a new form synthesized in a lab - also very important when considering how the plant will benefit you. Lastly, you may want to consider only buying “sustainably harvested” herbs & by-products, which means harvesting that allows population numbers to be maintained or to increase over time. This can be very important in terms of many of the herbs which are facing extinction or are very scarce in the wild.
WHERE TO BUY
My preferred online source for bulk herbs is Starwest Botanicals. They are a trusted source of natural products since 1975 and label their products so that it’s easy for you to tell if they are organic (no need to sort through lots of fine print). They carry dried USDA Certified Organic Vervain in either a cut herb or powdered form.
There are lots of other online sources for good quality herbs and essential oils. Just be an educated consumer when reading through the descriptions of how their products are grown and sourced.
Natural Wellness, Inspiring Creativity
Susan Heidi Filardo
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After a great deal of research, I decided on studying Clinical Herbalism with the Herbal Academy of New England to enrich my knowledge of the production and use of herbal products.
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